Timothy is a writer and video content creator. He enjoys helping others learn to improve their lives and shape better futures.
Every summer thousands of people head to the beautiful state of Alaska to work for a season in the lucrative fishing industry. There are numerous jobs that you can do to earn big bucks that involve fish such as salmon, herring, and whitefish, but the best job for entry-level workers is working as a seafood processor.
There are a number of seafood companies that hire processors every summer, and all of them have their pros and cons. In this article you will find a list of some of the better companies to work for, as well as some information on their operations, what they are looking for in potential employees, and how much money workers can expect to earn.
1. Leader Creek Fisheries
Leader Creek Fisheries is a lead processor of quality wild and sustainable Sockeye Salmon in Naknek, AK. Every year they hire approximately 400 employees to work the summer salmon season in Bristol Bay. And while the company admits that the days are long and the work is hard and strenuous, there are some perks to working for Leader Creek, including:
- Free airfare: Leader Creek will provide free transportation to their facility in Naknek from anywhere else in the state of Alaska, or from Seattle, Washington.
- Free housing: Housing is provided to employees at no cost.
- Free meals: All meals and break foods are provided to employees free of charge
- Overtime: You can expect LOTS of overtime!
- Short contract: The job runs from approximately June 15 to August 15.
To find out more about working for Leader Creek Fisheries this summer or to apply now visit https://www.leadercreekfisheries.com/employment.
2. Silver Bay Seafood
Silver Bay Seafoods is currently accepting applications for their white fish, herring and salmon seasons. Potential employers must be able to work from mid-late June to early-to-mid September for the salmon season, from late August to November for the fall white fish season, and the winter white fish season requires availability from December through March.
The starting wage for seafood processors at this company is $15.85/hour. Overtime is time and a half and is paid for any hours worked over 40 during a single workweek.
Room and board is provided at $15/day. The housing is bunk-style with 2-6 people of the same gender in each room. Meals are provided daily at the Silver Bay Cafeteria.
To learn more about becoming a seafood processor here, visit their career website at: https://careers.silverbayseafoods.com.
3. Alaska General Seafoods
Alaska General Seafoods is a seafood processing plant located off the Naknek River in Bristol Bay. Every season they process millions of pounds of salmon. They are currently hiring seafood processors for summer 2022 (mid-June to the first week in August).
Starting wage is $15.85/hour for regular hours and $23.78/hour for overtime hours. During peak season employees are required to work seven days per week, with days ranging anywhere from 12 to 18 hours.
The company provides employees free round-trip airfare from either Seattle, Washington, or Anchorage, Alaska. And housing and meals are included in the employment package at no cost. There is also a wide range of positions available at the facility for employees in addition to seafood processing.
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You can learn more about how much you can earn in a season, as well as review all the open positions the company has to offer at: http://www.akgen.com/employment.
4. Trident Seafoods
Trident Seafoods is hiring summer seafood processors for their shoreplants as well as for their processing vessels. In order to work for this company, you must meet the following requirements:
- Be able to legally work in the U.S.
- Be able to speak and understand English for safety purposes
- Be able to fill out an online application
- Attend an in-person interview
- Pass a pre-employment drug test and background check
- Complete a post-offer medical placement quiz
- Be able to stay drug and alcohol free during entire employment period
- Be able to complete entire employment contract
Visit the Trident Seafoods website to learn more about becoming a seafood processor and to fill out an online job application.
5. United States Seafoods
United States Seafoods is hiring seafood processors to work on their catcher-processor vessels in Alaska. Crew members are expected to work seven days per week for 12-18 hours per day performing strenuous duties with no days off for several weeks at a time. Vessels process at sea from January to November.
Employees are paid by Crewshare, which means each employee receives a percentage of the value of the total catch.
You can learn more about working as a seafood processor for this company by visiting http://www.unitedstatesseafoods.com/employment.
6. Peter Pan Seafoods
Peter Pan Seafoods is currently hiring seafood processors for their facility in King Cove, Alaska. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and legally be able to work in the United States.
Job tasks that processors will be required to perform include: sliming, sorting and grading fish, loading fish into freezers, boxing up frozen fish (must be able to lift 25 to 50 pounds), cleaning the processing equipment and area, and preparing and boxing salmon roe.
The company provides room and board for all employees at all of its facilities. Bedding and towels are provided, and there are laundry facilities available to employees on the grounds at each location.
Round-trip airfare is provided (with the completion of a successful season) from Seattle, Washington, for employees living in the lower 48 states. Alaskan employees will have transportation provided from their homes whenever possible by commercial airlines.
All personal safety equipment needed to perform each job will be provided to employees free of charge but must be returned at the end of the season.
If you are interested in working for this company, visit https://www.ppsf.com/job-openings to see current job openings and to apply online.
7. Petersburg Fisheries (A Division of Icicle Seafoods)
Petersburg Fisheries is located in Petersburg, AK, and is the oldest operating seafood plant in Alaska. They have a workforce of over 500 people, and they ship seafood products worldwide. They hire seafood processors throughout the year but mainly during the summer salmon season, which takes place during the months of July and August.
Most of the work offered to seafood processors at this company involves sliming or cleaning fish. This involves removing the guts of the fish and cutting off the head, fins, gills, and tail. Employees can expect there to be lots of fish blood and guts in their work area. The environment will also be wet, cold, and very loud.
Health and life insurance are offered to all qualifying employees, as well as 401k and retirement plans. The health insurance includes medical, dental, and vision.
You can visit http://Hookedonfish.com to learn more about the other incentives offered by this company and to apply for a job.
Is Working as a Seafood Processor in Alaska Right for You?
Seafood processing is an intense job that requires a very strong work ethic. The hours are long, the work is hard, and the environment is wet, chilly, and loud. Every year people show up in Alaska fully intent on lasting a whole season and end up not being able to handle the stress of the job.
While deciding if seafood processing is right for you or not, keep in mind that Alaska is a long way from home for most people coming from the lower 48 states. Some people get homesick after a few weeks and want to be back with family and friends. Others just can't handle being in a foreign state surrounded by people and places that are unfamiliar to them.
Working as a seafood processor can also be very dangerous. Accidents do occur, and people get injured. It's a risk you take at almost any job you work but the risk is greatly increased in an environment where people are working 12-16 hour days for weeks at a time. As your body gets more and more fatigued you might start getting sloppy and careless in your work. This leads to you making mistakes, which in turn can lead to injury.
Seafood processing is a great way to make a good deal of money in a very short period of time. But it's important to focus on what the job entails, and not just on the money. No amount of money is worth you putting yourself through an ordeal that you will later regret.
This part of this article is in no way intended to deter you from working as a seafood processor for a summer in Alaska. But rather it's to make sure you know what you will be getting yourself into before you accept the job and board a plane to The Last Frontier.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
Timothy Ward (author) from Bozeman, Montana on November 22, 2019:
@Liz Westwood. I think the nomadic lifestyle is gaining more popularity with each passing year. And more and more people are discovering seasonal work because of this trend.
Liz Westwood from UK on November 22, 2019:
This is a great guide for anyone looking for seasonal work. It could fit in well with a semi-nomadic lifestyle.